Music and sound effects are key to a great gaming experience. Gaming headsets are a little more specialized than typical headphones and having the right pair of gaming headphones can help improve your overall time spent gaming. The best gaming headphones are comfortable, sound good, and have a decent microphone. They also usually have dedicated software support, lots of active features, and have customization options. However, specialized gaming headsets can be quite bulky and the wireless models are often limited by the range of their transmitter. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option too.
So far, we've reviewed over 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset for PC and PS4 we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These wireless gaming headphones have a premium and comfortable design that doesn't look as flashy as some other gaming headsets. They connect to your PS4 or PC via a USB dongle but also have Bluetooth capabilities to allow you to connect to your mobile device, making them extremely versatile. You can even mix in your Bluetooth audio to add your music to your gaming sessions. Their sound reproduction is extremely well-balanced, and their receiver can connect to most televisions, making them the best headphones for watching TV as well. The receiver also works as a battery charging station, allowing you to swap out and charge one of the two included batteries, great for marathon gaming sessions.
Their sound profile is customizable through the SteelSeries Engine software, though unfortunately, it doesn't offer as many EQ bands or the same level of microphone control as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC, which are very similar to these headphones, in a wired design with a bit more features in the Engine software. They're also quite expensive, so if you want something with a similar design and performance but don't need the Bluetooth or base transmitter, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless.
If you like to customize your headphones' sound profile to better suit your own needs, get the Logitech G933. They don't feel as durable as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and their microphone isn't as good, but they provide more customization through the Logitech G Hub app. The app is one of the most comprehensive we've seen to date, providing an excellent parametric equalizer, mic and surround sound settings, as well as different sound profiles. The newer Logitech G935 Wireless Gaming Headset sound better out-of-the-box, but their provided audio cable doesn't include an in-line remote if you want to use the headphones with your smartphone on-the-go.
Get the SteelSeries if you prefer a more feature-packed, premium design, but if customization is what matters most for you, then you’ll want to go for the Logitech.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested so far is the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. These open-back headphones come in two variants: one for Xbox users and the other for PS4, while PC users can use either one. They come with a MixAmp that houses the various input options and toggle for virtual surround sound, as well as large knobs for volume and channel mixing, allowing you to control the output balance between your music and voice chat.
The open-back design means that these headphones are best used in a quiet environment, as they don't isolate against any ambient noise and leak quite a bit, which may be bothersome to others. On the upside, this design also allows them to produce a large and natural soundstage. The default sound profile of these headphones is bass-heavy, though the bass isn't as prominent as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017. The overall sound can be somewhat muddy; fortunately, there are several profile presets and a graphic EQ available within Astro's software to tinker with.
The outstanding feature is, of course, the microphone. Speech sounds detailed and understandable, and the microphone handles background noise remarkably well. Overall, if you don't mind having a few more wires around, these are a great choice.
If you're looking for one of the best wired gaming headsets but want to save a bit of money, then go with the Logitech G433. These gaming headphones might not come with a dedicated app that offers many features, but they come with multiple accessories, making them a bit more versatile. You get extra pads, a carrying pouch, and a few extra cables in the box. One of the cables even has a typical in-line remote that's mobile-friendly, meaning you can use your headphones easily with your phone. They also sound accurate and well-balanced, on top of being comfortable for long gaming sessions. Also, when gaming on a PC, you can use the USB adapter to get access to G Hub, the Logitech software that allows for decent customization. These headphones also have a better microphone, which makes you sound fuller and more detailed than with the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. However, note that their porous pads don't isolate very well against ambient noise and might be a bit leaky for some.
Overall, if you need a headset with tons of features and easy access to volume controls, go with the Astro. For a less expensive pair that can be used as your daily driver, the Logitech are far more versatile.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One we’ve tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. These headphones use the same wireless technology used in Xbox controllers, meaning you can use them with your console without the need for a dongle. They're also Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can stream your music from your phone at the same time as playing games on the Xbox One. Their overall build is very similar to most of SteelSeries' higher-end gaming headsets. It's very well-built and should be comfortable for most people. They also feature a ski-strap headband, which is limited by the strap's length, so it might not be recommended for people with larger heads as they might find it tight to wear for a while.
Their sound profile out-of-the-box is quite well-balanced and should be suitable for most content and genres, though they're not the most consistent between users, meaning different people may experience the sound profile differently. Unfortunately, while their sound can be EQ'd through their software, you won’t be able to hear the live EQ preview unless your PC supports Xbox Wireless or you have an adapter. On the upside, their microphone is good and provides a full-bodied recording, meaning people online won't have any trouble understanding you. Overall, they're a great option if you want something to easily connect to your Xbox wirelessly.
The best budget gaming headset we’ve tested so far is the Corsair HS60. They're very well-built, which is quite surprising for their price point. They have a metal frame that feels high-end and the cups are covered by metal grills as well. Their cup padding is also comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions and they even provide an accurate and well-balanced sound. You can even use the iCUE software to EQ them to your preference.
Their style is fairly straightforward and sleek, which means you can also use them as daily headphones, especially since you can detach their boom mic. However, note that they don't have a cable with an in-line remote and mic, so you won't be able to take calls. Their fit also doesn't isolate very well, so they might not be the best option if you play games in a fairly noisy environment. Nevertheless, the build quality and overall performance make the Corsair one of the best budget gaming headsets available right now. You can also check out the wireless Corsair HS70 Wireless if you have a bit more budget.
If you play multiplayer games and need something with a great microphone but don't want to break the bank, get the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They feel cheaper than the Corsair HS60, but their boom mic performs much better and does an excellent job at cutting out background noise so other players should still hear you. While they sound good out-of-the-box, unfortunately, they don't offer companion software to allow you to customize the sound profile. They have a standard 1/8" TRRS connection that can plug into any console controller or directly into a PC.
Get the Corsair if you're looking for a more premium-feeling gaming headset with a customizable sound profile, but if you play a lot of multiplayer games and want an amazing and clear-sounding microphone, go with the HyperX.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.
01/21/2020: Removed 'Best Home Theater Alternative', 'Best Earbuds for Gaming'. The Arctis Pro GameDAC is now mentioned with the Arctis Pro Wireless text instead of being a selection on its own.
12/20/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
10/25/2019: Replaced Astro A50 with Astro A50 Gen 4 2019.